Casino Royale / Daniel Craig as James Bond - The 10th anniversary
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Casino Royale came out 10 years ago, in November 2006, and to put it in simple words, the Bond world and spy fiction were changed forever. Not in small part due to Daniel Craig, of course.
I remember how this film instantly rocked my world when I was 18. I didn't pay much attention to the Internet backslash that followed Dan's arrival, as I was convinced that Barbara Broccoli made a wise choice after watching Layer Cake a couple days after his official introduction. Watching the long-awaited Casino Royale in theaters just confirmed my impressions: it was nothing like what I had seen before. The Pierce Brosnan era was made of fine action pictures, but they became a tired gimmicky routine quite rapidly. This Bond film injected a very healthy dose of new blood in the franchise like no other before it, not even GoldenEye, which was already famous for relaunching the series with much panache (and both happen to share the same director). In short, its simplicity, character-driven story and boldness made it an instant win. However, it probably set the bar too high for what followed.
As I said, Casino Royale set the bar very high and Quantum of Solace had some trouble living up to it as a result. It still functions well as an actionized sequel (sometimes the shaky cam works - such as during the opening's car chase - and sometimes it doesn't), and Craig remains the film's strongest asset, he still solidly delivered despite the troubled production. Overall, not as bad as it's often made out to be.
A worrisome 4 years hiatus ended with Skyfall, a glorious outing that boasted gorgeous cinematography, a flamboyant villain, interesting new and not-so-new characters (Mallory, Q, Moneypenny and so on...), action sequences that were much easier to follow and last but not least, Dan still in top shape. A well-deserved triumph, but at the same time, I'm not sure if catering toward nostalgia is the wisest thing to do in the long run. And the film still lacked a part of what made the charm of Casino Royale.
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